In April 2013, Marketdata Enterprises, Inc. published its biennial report (that means once every two year!) "The US Weight Loss & Diet Control Market (12th edition)". According to the study, 108 million American people are dieters. That's more than a third of the entire US population. Marketwise, the Weight Loss market grew a 1.7% in 2012 with R $ 61.6 billion revenues in 2012 against $ 60.6 billion in 2011.
Strictly speaking, 1.7% growth is quite flat, but there are 2 factors to put in perspective:
The first one is that the market value is still huge (we're talking billion dollars here) and industry revenues are still forecast to grow 2.6% in 2013. The main market switch is to be seen in the consumer's behavior, with the rise of online dieting and the DIY-dieters generation. Online dieting revenues are estimated at $ 1.1b but are growing 8% per year which is pretty fast compared to the overall market growth. We're talking here about websites such as Sparkpeople.com, Fitday.com and myfitnesspal.com.
The second trend which refers to DYI dieters is obviously linked to the hundreds of mobile applications that help people to lose weight. Today, we are going to review the free app Lose it! through healthcare gamification prism, which is one of the most popular app with +20 million downloads estimated in the Appstore and Google Play store.
Lose it! describes itself as helping you set a "daily calorie budget, track your food and exercise, and stay motivated to make smarter choices and achieve your goal.
As per December 2013, Lose It! claims that it helped people to lose 26 million pounds (almost 12,000 tons). That's a pretty impressive number (the weight equivalent of over 7,500 cars!).
There are several great features available in the app; we'll have a look at 5 of them and see how they are using games mechanics to make it a successful example of healthcare gamification.
Everything starts with setting up a Goal for yourself. You input information about yourself for the app to define your metabolism, define how much weight you want to lose and then the app calculates a custom program for you.
After setting up the Weight-To-Lose goal, a graph is displayed to provide the user with a simple visual representation of his / her objectives through the use of the app.
Fixed Interval Reward Schedules
Every 24 hours, users are given a daily calorie budget (the app's virtual currency) and have to manage it through nutrition, work out, exercise, etc. The objective is to have a 'green day', meaning you have to control your calorie budget.
No surprise to see that Lose It! Gamifies the usage of the app through badges. Even though the designs are a bit old-school, they are actually quite well thought and reward the user for achieving different things:
– Simply logging in (Congratulations for logging-in, etc.)
– Short-term performance (First weight loss, etc.)
– Long-term performance (last 4 weeks usage)
Lose it! integrates with the most popular health and fitness devices and apps available (we're talking wireless scales, pedometers, workout apps, and more) to provide a truly seamless, connected experience. For instance, users can sync Lose It! with their NikeFuel Band which allow them to integrate the app to their other devices.
Lose it! allows users to connect with friends, family, colleges, etc. You can motivate your peers and support players that are being less active on the app. It's a kind of support group, but what it does is that it uses community as a way to generate repeat usage of the app.
After a very competitive environment, Lose It! manages to play its cards right thanks to a very well thought app that puts itself in the shoes of the user. The design of the app takes advantage of relevant game mechanisms which make the experience personal, engaging and highly stimulating. We consider it a great example of healthcare gamification.